The FDA moves to limit the lead content in juices

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In an effort to reduce children’s exposure to lead, the WE The Food and Drug Administration has issued a draft of action levels for the lead in ready to beverage Apple juice (single strength) and other ready-to-drink juices and juice mixes.

“The exposure of our most vulnerable populations, in particular childrenhigh levels of toxic elements from food is unacceptable, “FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD said in a Press release provided by the health agency.

Califf also said, “This action to limit lead in juice represents a major step forward in the advancement of the FDA’s Closer to Zero Action Plan, which we are confident will have a lasting impact on public health for current and future generations.”

The new policy, which was detailed in Fruit Juice in Infants, Children and Adolescents: Current Recommendations, indicates that 100% fruit juice should not be provided to infants under 1 year of age.

The Closer to Zero Action Plan is the agency’s effort to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury from food by establishing action levels, the report said. According to Wednesday’s release, the draft guidance provided recommended lead juice limits that are achievable by the industry and reduced as appropriate.


Draft action levels for lead in juice, if finalized, would replace the current level of 50 parts per billion (ppb) with action levels of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in single strength apple juice and 20 ppb for lead in all other single strength juice types, including juice blends containing apple juice, according to the relationship.

The agency said establishing an action level of 10 ppb could reduce lead exposure from apple juice in children by nearly 46 percent. Setting an action level of 20ppb in all other fruit and vegetable juices could result in a 19% reduction in lead exposure, the FDA estimated in the release. The agency relied on the FDA’s Interim Reference Level (IRL) for lead, which is a measure of the contribution of lead in foods to blood lead levels, to help establish draft action levels for juices. , the statement states.

Welch grape juice.

Welch grape juice.

The reason the FDA issued a lower action level for apple juice was that it is the juice most commonly consumed by young children, the release notes.

“As we outlined in the Closer to Zero Action Plan, the agency is ramping up targeted compliance activities as part of our efforts to monitor levels of these elements in foods through the FDA’s Total Diet Study, the Elements Program. toxic in food and food items and sampling assignments, Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in the release.

Mayne said that as science advances, so too do their work in the food industry safety. “For example, action levels can be progressively lowered over time, as appropriate, to make continuous improvements in reducing the levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury in foods consumed by infants and young children,” Mayne explained in press release.


According to the FDA release, lead is a natural element found in the environment and comes from consumer and industrial products and processes, so it cannot be completely removed from the food supply.

Lead exposure is toxic to humans and has been linked to developmental health problems in children, particularly a child’s brain and nervous system, according to the agency’s report. Lead is particularly harmful to infants, young children, pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as others with chronic health conditions, the report said. The FDA stated in its report that “the neurological effects of lead exposure in early childhood include learning disabilities, behavioral difficulties, and reduced IQ. Lead exposures may also be associated with immunological, cardiovascular, renal and reproductive effects. and / or development “. The agency’s report also stated that lead has the ability to accumulate in the body, so low-level chronic exposure can be detrimental to health over time. The agency hopes that the action levels recommended in the draft guidance document will help limit consumer exposure.

52-ounce bottles of Tropicana orange juice are displayed on a grocery store shelf.

52-ounce bottles of Tropicana orange juice are displayed on a grocery store shelf.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The FDA has recommended that parents also follow the dietary guidelines for Americans, which recommend limiting the consumption of juices for children. Reducing your juice intake will help reduce the juice’s potential lead exposure, the agency noted in the release. Dietary guidelines also recommend that children get at least half of their fruit requirements each day from whole fruit rather than juice. The guidelines also said babies under 12 months of age should avoid juice entirely.


The FDA said it is working with the manufacturers of these products to help them follow “best practices” for lowering lead levels in juices. The federal health agency is also accepting comments on the draft guide and said manufacturers can choose to implement the recommendations in the draft guide before the guide is finalized.